Importance of Social Interaction for Elderly Loved Ones
Without senior socialization, your loved one is vulnerable to health problems such as cognitive decline, depression, and heart disease. This is why encouraging social activities for isolated seniors is key to maintaining a healthy quality of life.
In this blog post, you’ll learn the dangers of isolation as well as the benefits of senior socialization and ways to facilitate it.
Why Is Socialization Good for Seniors?
Socialization is good for people of all ages, but it is especially important for senior wellness. Senior socialization has real mental and physical health benefits, even for seniors who are more introverted and prefer to be at home.
Mental Health Benefits of Senior Socialization
Spending time with others releases endorphins, which improves mood and keep feelings of loneliness at bay. Loneliness and isolation is stressful to anyone, but high stress levels can be especially hard on seniors.
In fact, spending time with others has been proven to reduce stress levels — it causes an increase in oxytocin, which functions to decrease anxiety levels. It does so by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system, calming down stress responses. This decreases anxiety levels, making seniors feel more confident in their ability to deal with stress.
Physical Health Benefits of Senior Socialization
Physical activity and exercise become more important for humans as they age. The risk of physical health ailments increases with age, and staying active is the best way to keep chronic disease at bay.
Senior socialization has the added benefit of getting seniors out of the house and encourages them to partake in some physical activity. Whether it is a walk with a friend, an exercise class, or volunteering, socialization contributes to physical activity, which is highly beneficial for seniors.
The Dangers of Senior Isolation
Studies have shown that isolated seniors have higher rates of negative health ailments and poorer mental health. Seniors who do not get regular socialization are more likely to suffer from a variety of health conditions, including:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Cognitive decline
- Coronary artery disease
How Can I Help Seniors Socialize?
It can be easy for those who live alone to get into a routine that doesn’t include a lot of activities for isolated seniors. Sometimes, they need a little encouragement to ensure that socialization is part of their daily life. There are a few ways you can help seniors socialize.
Make a Plan
Many seniors like routine, so the easiest way to encourage socialization is to build it into an existing routine. You can plan visits with friends, plan outings with family, and find creative ways to build socialization into their daily routine.
Sign Up for Activities
There are plenty of social activities that seniors can partake in. Sign them up for a weekly swim class, art session, or volunteering opportunity. If mobility is an issue, you can arrange for activities to take place in the home or experiment with virtual options.
The role of a caregiver is not just to provide help with daily needs. Caregivers can also provide companionship for seniors who are isolated. Companion care can be arranged daily or weekly and can also include transportation services to allow seniors to socialize outside their homes.
4 Activities for Isolated Seniors
For seniors with health issues or limited mobility, it can take a little creativity to ensure they get the socialization they need. However, there are plenty of activities for isolated seniors to partake in.
1. Book Club
Book clubs are a great way for seniors to learn about new topics, explore new interests, and socialize with peers. Some clubs meet in person weekly or monthly, and others meet virtually, which can be easier for seniors with mobility issues.
2. Take a Class
Taking a class provides an opportunity to learn a new skill, meet new friends, and connect with the community.
Some ideas for easy and fun classes include:
- Second language
- Pottery making
- Public speaking
Some educational institutions may even offer free classes or senior discounts that retirees can take advantage of.
From food banks to shelters to legal services, there are many worthy causes. Volunteering is a perfect opportunity for isolated seniors to get out, meet new people, and help their community at the same time.
4. Walking Clubs
For seniors who are able, joining a walking club is an easy way to connect with peers, meet new friends, and get healthy exercise at the same time.
Most communities have walking clubs for seniors that you can learn about through the newspaper, social media, or the local AARP chapter. Participating in a weekly walking club is an easy activity to build into an existing routine and stick to over the long term.
Encourage Socialization with Advanced Nursing + Home Support
Advanced Nursing + Home Support is a group of senior care professionals committed to improving the lives of seniors. We understand the importance of social interaction for elderly loved ones, and we make it a focus in our work.
We offer a variety of home care services, including senior transportation to and from social activities. Our professionals provide care in the most compassionate way, providing a social connection for our clients. We do more than just provide services to meet the basic needs of seniors: We aim to give seniors a better quality of life and empower them to live with dignity and purpose. Contact us today to learn more about our services.